A gift is not a gift if you expect ANYTHING in return!
Warning: this concept will probably step on a few toes!
Gift giving should be among the easiest and most enjoyable things we do. Why, then, is it often so frustrating?
Have you ever given a gift and gotten your feelings hurt because you didn’t get a “thank you” in return? If so, it wasn’t a gift.
Have you ever been upset because you gave a gift to someone, only to find out later they gave it to someone else? If so, it wasn’t a gift.
Have you ever made a charitable donation to an organization, but wanted to be publicly recognized in some way for the “gift?” If so, it wasn’t a gift.
You see, the definition of “Gift” is: an item given to someone without the expectation of payment.
“But”, you may be thinking, “I didn’t expect any kind payment for it. All I wanted was a simple ‘Thank You.'”
Do you see the conflict? The problem lies in the phrase “all I wanted.” When you want anything in receipt, it’s not a gift. What you want is payment in the form of a simple “Thank you!” A small payment, to be sure, but a payment nonetheless.
If you get upset when you don’t get a “Thank you,” or the person gives your gift to someone else, or doesn’t use the gift in the way you intended it to be used, or doesn’t publicly acknowledge the gift, it wasn’t a gift. You were requiring payment in the form of acknowledgment or appreciation or putting it to the best use. You might not think of it as a payment, but it is.
Yes, it is common courtesy to say “Thank you” when someone gives us something. However, you can’t control what other people do or say; all you can control is you.
Here’s another concept that may be uncomfortable: The only reason you should ever give a gift is because you want to!
If you feel compelled to give something, it’s not a gift! If you are not giving simply because it pleases you to do so, it’s not a gift.
In some sense, true gift giving is ultimately a selfish act. You give because it pleases you to give. You give because it makes you happy to give.
Certainly, part of what makes you happy is the knowledge that what you are giving is something that the other person wants, needs, or would make them happy to receive it. You wouldn’t enjoy giving something that the recipient doesn’t even want, right?
For me, the most enjoyable form of giving anonymous giving! I get great joy from giving something that I know they really need, yet they have absolutely no idea who gave it and absolutely no way of repaying the gift.
So think about your gift giving. If you let go of wanting something in return, it really becomes much more enjoyable!
NOTE: You may also listen to me talk about this subject on the Life Is A Marathon podcast: A Gift is Often NOT a Gift!